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Cross-border electrification

Conference: African Utility Week
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Presenter: Andrew Barfour
Abstract: Presented by Andrew Barfour at African Utility Week

Electricity has become essential for development and growth in the world’s socio-economic order.  Nations therefore do try to be self-sufficient in the generation of electricity.  Some countries however do not have enough supply capacity and therefore tend to depend on neighbouring nations to supply them with their electricity needs through interconnection of transmission systems.  The investment needed to build transmission interconnection sometimes can be so high that poor development nations are unable to raise the necessary funds to meet the capital cost involved.

Where the transmission interconnections are built however, they are normally constructed to serve big cities and large load centres such as mining, big manufacturing and agro-processing industries. 

Grid extensions from some transmission load centres to remote areas along borders of countries tend to be costly and therefore it becomes imperative for nations to look for alternative source of supply.

Communities across borders of neighbouring countries which are far away from the major transmission substations usually don’t enjoy electricity supply whilst their neighbours on the side of the border may have supply.

In such circumstances the most practical and economic approach is to extend the distribution system across the borders.
This paper seeks to examine the challenges in and suggest strategies for using cross-border electrification to resolve supply difficulties along borders of countries.